Gearin, Alvarado lead Bisons in All-Conference honors
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
By Kirk Downs
Gearin, Alvarado lead Bisons in All-Conference honors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Highlighting a historical season on the pitch, the Lipscomb men’s soccer team continued to break records Tuesday by placing five players on the Atlantic Sun All-Conference team.

Senior Luke Gearin was named Defensive Player of the Year while Ivan Alvarado earned Freshman of the Year. The duo is joined on the first team All-Conference by Matt Kerridge, marking the most first team selections in program history, while Nate Davis and Reece Holcombe earned second team honors.

After being named A-Sun Preseason Defender of the Year, Gearin backed up his play and earned the postseason honor as well, marking the first time a Bison has won the award. He helped Lipscomb to four shutouts and a school-record 12 wins.

The only unanimous selection for Lipscomb on the first team All-Conference – and one of only two overall – was Gearin, who leads the team with a career-high eight goals. His 16 total points are tied with Alvarado for second on the squad.

His eight goals were the second-most in the A-Sun, just one behind the leader, and his total points were tied for fourth-most. As team captain, Gearin started 15 games for the Bisons but needed just 19 total shots to reach his goal total.

The Australian nailed two game-winners against Evansville and George Washington in consecutive weeks.

The senior was named a Second Team selection last season after registering five goals.

One of just two unanimous selections to the All-Freshman Team, Alvarado finished the regular season tied for fourth in the A-Sun with 16 points on four goals and eight assists. The Texas native scored a goal in three of the final four games, including the game-winning strike in Lipscomb's victory to cap the regular-season conference title over the weekend.

The crafty-lefty finished second in the league in assists. His first career point came on an assist in the season-opening win over Xavier. He recorded a career-high four points in a win over Houston Baptist, where he struck his first-career goal and assisted on two others.

Alvarado finished the season with an assist in three of the final four matches and earned A-Sun Player of the Week in the final two editions. He was the only player to earn the honor in back-to-back weeks.

It marks just the second time in school history a Lipscomb player has won the Freshman of the Year award as Garrett Pettis claimed the honor in 2008.

Lipscomb’s third and final first team selection is Matt Kerridge. The Player of the Year candidate helped lead the most lethal offense in the A-Sun on his way to seven goals and three assists. He finished third in the league in scoring and also in total points with 17.

Entering the 2014 season Kerridge had not scored a goal while donning the Purple and Gold, but that changed when he sunk a first-half goal in the season opener at Xavier. He scored in three of the first four matches.

The Colorado native had a career night in the win over Central Arkansas, scoring twice and assisting on another for five total points in the match.

Highlighting the All-Atlantic Sun second team are Nate Davis and Reece Holcombe. As a freshman, Davis started 13 games in net and has been a contributing member of the Bisons defense. In 1,142 minutes the freshman recorded a save percentage of .722 with three shutouts and 39 saves on the year. In A-Sun action he led the league with just five goals allowed in six matches. The St. Louis native led the league in wins with a 10-1-1 record between the pipes and will hold the backline in the Bisons’ quest for their first A-Sun Championship title.

Davis also earned a spot on the All-Freshman team after finishing his rookie campaign with 1.18 goals against average, the second lowest in the league. In conference play, his GAA dropped to 0.80.

Holcombe earned a spot on an All-Conference team for the third-straight season. He has been named to the second team in each of the past two seasons, while getting a nod on the All-Freshman squad in 2012.

The Birmingham, Alabama native notched two goals and four assists from his forward position. In the season opener at Xavier the junior tallied a score and an assist, the second time he has achieved this feat in his career. Holcombe has two-game winners this season, including the lone strike in a 1-0 shutout of North Florida in Jacksonville.

Entering the week riding a school-record five-game winning streak, Lipscomb (12-3-1, 4-1-1 A-Sun) begins its A-Sun Championship on Friday night at home against the winner of No. 4 - North Florida and No. 5 – USC Upstate at 7 p.m. The Bisons are hosting the tournament, which gets underway Wednesday with a pair of quarterfinal matchups. In the first semifinal game Friday, second-seeded Florida Gulf Coast will battle the winner of No. 3 – Stetson and No. 6 Northern Kentucky at 4 p.m.

Any student of an A-Sun institution will be admitted for free with a valid university I.D. Tickets to the quarterfinals and semifinals will be $10 per session and for the finals it will be $15. Youth ages 12 and under will get in for $5 per session. Wednesday’s and Friday's games will be streamed on ASun.TV while Sunday's final will air live on ESPN3.